Thursday, August 20, 2009

A visit to the windward side

We just returned from a two-day mini break on the Hilo-side of the island. The green and damp, mist and rain, fragrant ginger and coqui frogs make for a relaxing change of scene for us.  

The first day, we went to Queen Liliuokalani Park and Coconut Island. It was a sunny clear day and both were gorgeous. Queen L Park is a great place to relax with a book and Coconut Island is a wonderful place for children (safe areas to get into the water, soft short grass and shade). We also visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens on this trip and were quite impressed. The gardens span a huge piece of property that unfolds down to the ocean’s edge, so it feels like you’re wandering through lush natural rainforest, rather than a manicured garden. We saw some extremely exotic plants including our new favorite, the white bat plant. We also made a visit to Akaka and Kahuna falls, both lovely (although almost overwhelmingly touristy and crowded) and marveled at the huge old mossy bamboo and all the different kinds of ginger. (We also like Rainbow Falls, which is less crowded and in a park with some huge old banyan trees.)

We didn’t stop at Kalopa Park this time, which is our favorite place on that side of the island. It is way up a winding farm road off the highway, about twenty minutes south of Honokaa. It has a park area with native hibiscus growing and a nature trail, as well as a longer hike through beautiful dense forest to misty cattle pasture, then back along a deep ravine through dripping damp eucalyptus and ginger. Kalopa is an off-the-beaten path sort of place, a beautiful hidden forest treasure.  

Although we wouldn't want to live on the east side, we do enjoy a visit now and then.  The rain does make for some outstandingly lush scenery. There’s something haunting and special about a dark, misty forest scented with yellow ginger flowers and damp earth. 

No comments:

Post a Comment